The Flying Nurse
“Prue Wheelwright is still in her thirties but she’s already had a fascinating, action-packed career. As a nurse and midwife she has worked in remote Australia as well as parts of the world that are remote to Australia, thanks to her work with Médécins sans Frontières. From treating patients at the most basic bush hospital in Ethiopia to looking after members of the Saudi royal family in Riyadh to the work she has just begun with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Prue has seen the extremes of humanity and has the stories to prove it. Above all this is the story of a woman who is passionate about her work – that work just happens to be in a profession that means she puts her heart on the line, every single day. And she wouldn’t change a thing.”
Is this allowed to be a memoir when its author is still so young? Prue packs a lot into these pages and I am keen to read more! This seems like part 1 of her career, and I can’t wait to read more. There’s plenty of variety in her stories and the opportunities that she’s taken up are mind-boggling in their differences. From letting her mom pick nursing (or teaching) as a career for her, Prue has thrived in the unique environments she’s found herself in.
I was particularly tickled by Prue’s descriptions of her time in Riyadh, which is in a very strict Muslim country. Imagine not being able to treat your patients because they are royalty! Not to mention her creative approach to clothing under the Abaya or niqab in public places…
What I enjoyed about this book compared to Frontline Midwife, was that the author didn’t seem to hold the view that everyone should be able to, and should aim to, have children. It’s also interesting to have another view of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) and how the experiences are similar yet literally countries apart. I’d highly recommend this book as a must-read for anyone considering nursing as a career. I’ve got a niece in mind to give this book to!
It seems to me that medical professionals are some of the most valuable people world-wide. As an educator, I’d like to argue that education is the way forward but basic medical care perhaps has to come first. I’m going to keep living vicariously through these medical memoirs (The Combat Doctor, Frontline Midwife, Aussie Midwives) and know that there is no way I could be a nurse.
Hachette | 29 March 2023 | AU$34.99 | paperback